Health

Staying active indoors and out

It’s all too easy to spend the month of January hunkered down on the sofa, with any exercise confined to hitting your TV remote! But kids need their recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day, no matter what the weather. We have some ideas for keeping the momentum going, indoors and out.

Published

INDOORS

Premier Education* have come up with some indoor activity ideas that are simple to set up and don’t require much planning or expense!

Indoor snowball fight

This one is easy and their hands won’t freeze when making the snowballs. Simply crumple up pieces of scrap paper, old newspapers or magazines and get throwing! Toss them on the fire or recycle them after use.

Party on

Make good use of the Christmas decorations while they are still up and have a dance party with your family. Turn up the music and get moving to your favourite festive tunes.

Keep a video diary

This is especially good for days when children are with grandparents or at a friend’s house. Ask children, if necessary with help from an adult, to make a video diary of their day. They’ll be eager to show you all the things they’ve done and you can watch the video together at the end of the day.

Help with the chores

Whether it’s washing the car, helping to dust the house or hoovering, children will be doing something active which promotes a sense of achievement …especially if there’s a little reward at the end of it!

Be each other’s inspiration

Task each family member with the responsibility of taking it in turns to create the next workout. Include a warm-up and cool down with 10 minutes of fun physical activity in between.

Free activity provision

Thanks to the Holiday Activity and Food programme (HAF) some children can enrol on free activity camps which run over the school holidays. It’s open to any child with a free school meals code and comes with healthy food provided. Each council offers different provision, but you may find you’re entitled to a range of activities such as performing arts, football and dance.

*Premier Education is a leading provider of sport and physical activity to primary schools. Visit premier-education.com

OUTDOORS

Cheryl Brown at Le Boat shares ways to encourage kids to embrace the great outdoors, despite the chill weather.

Explore at night

Winter nights are a great time to spot wildlife as it gets darker earlier, meaning you don’t have to be up in the dead of night to see and hear animals. Enjoying a night outside with little ones is an awfully big adventure for them! Wrap up, put some hot chocolate in a thermos and listen out for nocturnal animals. Here are just some of the ones you may discover in Europe:

  • Hedgehogs
  • Bats
  • Owls
  • Foxes
  • Badgers

To make the experience even more special, invest in a pair of night vision goggles to give your children the best view.

Discover together

Rather than simply teaching your child everything you know about the natural world, why not discover more together? Visit museums with environmental exhibitions or join family-friendly guided nature walks with an expert.

Learn on the move

Try taking out your cycles and, rather than racing to the ‘end’, stop by the wayside whenever you spot something interesting.

Take a trip

Organise a day trip that has some interesting landmarks in the area, like a famous lake or waterfall or a popular walking trail. Find out a few exciting facts about the landmark to share with your children on your visit.

Go foraging

Foraging is very productive at this time of year: search for blackberries, chestnuts, mushrooms and much more. Beware when foraging for mushrooms to touch only the edible varieties. Pack a book to help you identify which ones can be touched and eaten safely.

Use technology!

Technology can help children to engage with the natural world if used wisely! Take advantage of devices by encouraging children to download apps and learn more about wildlife. You can, for instance, download apps that help you identify birds by their song, or ones that help kids learn about the different seasons.

Teach the Countryside Code

This offers valuable guidance, helping you teach your child how to behave when spending time in nature. Share these guidelines and explain how they benefit the natural world: for example, by sticking to the paths you can avoid disturbing animals in their natural habitat. You can even find ways to leave nature in a better way than you found it, by taking a bag to collect discarded litter with you.

For more information on boating holidays, visit www.leboat.co.uk

TIPS FOR COLD WEATHER WALKS

  • Take energy boosting snacks and a favourite hot drink in a small thermos.
  • Invest in good quality waterproofs and footwear. Make sure they are roomy to allow for extra layers underneath, and for growth.
  • Plan a manageable circular walk – remember that kids tend to get tired quicker in cold weather.
  • Take along a checklist of things to see to keep everyone occupied along the way.
  • Encourage your child to wear mittens rather than gloves as they’re so much easier to get on and off.
  • Make sure hand and footwear is waterproof – there’s nothing worse than damp, wet hands and feet.

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